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Water Change Induced Flipover


sea

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Hi Guys,

Smudge is upsidedown at the top of the tank. He has been this way for 24 hours. I know this is most likely due to a sbd issue but the way it happened is weird and scary and I am worried that this is permanent.

He flipped less than 30 min after a 25% water change/gravel vac. I did the change the same as usual using Prime, temp matching, etc. After it happened I checked the pH and it was fine (7.8). My other fish is a little skiddish (maybe due to seeing his friend this way)but seems mostly ok.

Smudge has a history of having issues after water changes - there is an old thread here about his issues (http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=67223&st=0&p=746761entry746761). Usually he bottom sits/hides for a couple days after a change before he snaps out of it and is his normal self. He was fine before the change.

I am fasting now and hoping for the best but is there anything else I can do? Are there any ideas as to why this happened? He has flipped once or twice before after eating bubbles after a meal but always righted himself within 12 hours.

Please - any ideas/suggestions?

Test Results for the Following:

Ammonia Level? 0

Nitrite Level? 0

Nitrate level? 10

Ph Level, (If possible,KH and GH and chloramines)? 7.8

Ph Level out of the Tap?

Tank size (How many Gals) and How long has it been running? 20 gal, 2+ years

What is the name and size of the filter/s?

How often do you change the water and how much? 25-50% 1-2x/week

How many fish in the tank and their size? two 2inch fantails

What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime

Any medications added to the tank? no

Add any new fish to the tank? No

What do you feed your fish? Progold, spirulina flakes, peas, frozen brine shrimp/spirulina

Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt",

bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? no

Any unusual behavior like staying

at the bottom, not eating, ect..? upsidedown at top of tank, previously bottom sitting

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Hello sea. Did you by any chance do a big gravel vac with the water change or was it just temp and pH matched water?

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Hi Trinket - sorry to have to bother you yet again. I thoght I had been through everything and now this :(

I did do a gravel vac but it was same as usual (usually 1x/week). I am thinking that something that was dug up bothered his gills again, made him pipe at the surface take in air and flip. I am not sure if I should do nothing (hard to do :cry1 ), try to get him to eat medigold or metromed food (although I am not sure why?), or medicate the tank with ???

Thanks, sea

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Ok, I am trying hard not to freak out too much. It is just too hard seeing him helpless and upsidedown like that. Also I think I may see signs of dropsy. He seems very swollen and his scales seem extended out. I don't know what I should do. Continue to fast him and do nothing else? I I have epsom salts - should I use them and if so, how? Should I use any meds and if so what do you suggest? I am not sure if I can get him to eat MM since he is upsidedown. I am also not sure if this is due to more of the same gill disease and if I should be treating that?

Thanks :heart

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Oh dear.

I know the history here.

Since we spoke last time I just had an incident where Moo flipped over. It was after a vigorous gravel vac and I am sure there was some sulfate reduction going on, churning up those anaerobic bacteria and whatever else. I had a problem with my sump filter not working properly. In extreme cases theer is a smell of sulphur. But of course it needs to be done...

If he is pine coning you'll need to start on medication yes. How does he look as of now? Can you see any tiny red dots on him for example? For now I would probably separate him and add epsom..

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So sorry to hear about Moo. Is he back to normal? What are the odds that they will flip back after being upsidedown for 36 hrs?

Smudge is calico so I can't see any obvious dots. He does look like he is pineconing though. I have Maracyn 1, maracyn 2 and kanamycin - which would you suggest? I also have metromed - should I try to get him to eat? I think this might be hard to do.

About the epsom as of now I do not have any place to move him to. Would it harm his friend? I can run out and get a tupperware if you think epsom is best.

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If you really cannot separate him in a large enough space then do another water change (with the fish OUT of the tank while you do it) and add the epsom in there. It will not harm the other fish although slight diarrohea may occur.

DO NOT use kanamycin or medigold that contains it. If your fish has renal failure anything containing an aminoglycide antibiotic could be fatal. We don't know if renal (kidney) failure is occurring but bloat can be an indication of it.

Start with the epsom. No improvement you had better use Maracyn 2 (cover the tank or dim light) and try to feed MMs again.

From now on I suggest you always do water changes first removing the fish to a rubbermaid/large tupp in case this is a reaction to something that is being stirred up from the gravel. Longterm you could look at slowly reducing/osing that gravel.

PS Moo is back to his usual self now thanks.

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I'll add the epsom to the main tank now and wait O/N. Can you confirm that it is 1/4 teaspoon epsom per 10 US gal? I read that in another post. Anything else to know about epsom - I have never used it before. If no change by AM should I add the M2 then?

If he lives through this I will definitely take him out for water changes. I can kick myself now because I knew he was having issues with water changes (he would bottom sit) but now this is much worse. I took my gravel out ~1 year ago and replaced with river rock. I will go bare bottom after this.

Glad to hear that Moo is better!

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Yes that's correct. i have overdosed it slightly to no ill effect. No change tomorrow, start the meds. Good luck sea!

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Trinket - thanks so much for your help so far :heart

A quick update and 2 questions for today:

I started the epsom yesterday PM, checked on him again several times last night and wound up adding the M2 around midnight as he just looked awful and I felt that I needed to try everything possible to help him. This AM he is amazingly down from the top and hiding behind a plant. He still looks very swollen - maybe a little less pineconed but I am not sure.

1) Should I feed him (he has not eaten in 3 days) and if so what - metromed? peas? I am favoring the MM since he is still very weak and sick looking but don't want to reinduce the flipping.

2) I know I need to keep up the M2 for the next 5 days - should the epsom stay in there that long as well?

If he survives this I know I will need some more advice on how to modify the tank, water changes, etc. I hope I have the opportunity to ask those questions later down the line :)

Thanks again :heart

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I'm sorry you had a late night worrying about this and that the epsom alone wasn't enough for poor Smudge. Make sure that you have the tank covered from light with Maracyn2 as it is de-activated by light. Day room light through the sides of the tank should be okay, just cover the top and turn off any tank light. You must stick to the full 5 days.

Hiding behind a plant is still not good but yes amazing that he is down and not floating anymore.

1) I think you need to feed him. If he is or has been pineconed for sure then you should certainly start a course of MMs for him asap. It shouldn't induce more flipping.

2) You can keep the epsom in for the 5 days. Check water params in case Maracyn tweaks your cycle. It has been known to do that. And make sure the water has plenty of dissolved oxygen while medicating.

If Smudge has dropsied, it is supposed to be a good idea to slowly raise the temperature to 80 to raise metabolism which improves the waste breakdown performance of the kidneys. Please let us know how things go. If I miss your updates and no-one is around you can PM me anytime with a link to the thread. If there's a link it's easier to find. Good luck. Wishing for the best :heart

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Hi again - GOOD NEWS :)

Smudge is now hanging out (right side up) in the middle of the tank and I see some poop coming out!!! IT is long and greyish/whitish but not very thin. I hadn''t seen poop from him in many weeks although I typically see some from Pudge at least 1X/day (normal looking). I hadn't thought much about it - I just thought I kept missing the poop times but I guess this could it be part of the problem :hmm

He is still swollen and slightly pineconed but I am encouraged by his progress so far.

I have started the MM and he is eating it. I am trying to feed a little bit 4-5X times during the day.

The temp is 80-82 now (we are in CA and it is hot!) and I have a bubble wand so hopefully ok in terms of O2.

I'll leave in the epsom and keep dosing the M2 for the next 5 days and keep you posted.

Thanks so much :heart

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Good!!! I wonder if the epsom didn't make him "go". It has that efect. And takes a day...

Anyway, he is on the mend. That whitish poo (with the other symptoms) does suggest there are harmful bacteria inside he can't cope with so hopefully the MMs will work on those and the dropsying should cease soon.

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I'm confused now and wanted to get your take on the situation. On the one hand Smudge is looking better. He is much less swollen and there is less pineconing. I saw several very large poops hanging from him - they are now whitish to light brown. All that is good right? However his behavior has been worse the past 2 days. He now is bottom sitting and hiding all day except during meal times compared to on Saturday and most of Sunday when he was swimming around. A possible clue is that I think his gills look slightly brown on the inside instead of red but I am not sure if this is real or what this could mean.

The epsom has been in 3.5 days and I am about to add the 4th dose of maracyn 2. He has been on MM food for 3 days.

I tested the water today and it is ok - amm:0, nitrite:0, nitrate:15. I am trying to wait until after the 5th (last) dose of the maracyn 2 to do a water change if possible

Questions:

1) Any idea why his behavior is worse?

2) What could the brownish gills mean and what should I do?

23 For the water change after the last dose of M2 I think I will transfer him to a tub and do a huge water change/vacuum vac of the tank. How long would you suggest I wait until adding him back? The only tub I can use is the one I use to qt my plants - it is only 2 gal, no filter or anything so I don't want to leave him there for too long.

Thanks again for your advice

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Sea, were you able to check the water for nitrites while medicating on the first few days with Maracyn 2? Many people have reported nitrite spikes from using water born antibiotics. It is the most common reason for brownish looking gills. I think we already established your fish have had some gill tissue damage and nitrites at any level are going to be more dangerous if the gills are already impaired. I know the levels are good today but could there have been a spike?

Have you had the lights dimmed for the meds? It sounds as if he is not reacting well to erythromycin.

When you finish the Maracyn course and have him in the tub while doing the 100% water change, (make sure there is an air wand in there if you can) add him back like a new fish acclimitising him slowly to the new water by submerging the tub in the tank centimeter by centimeter exchanging water for water over a 10 minute period or as you would a new fish. Take the chance when he's in the tub to get a good close up look at his gills and any damage anywhere on his body.

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It could be nitrites I guess as I didn't check for nitriites until after 3 doses of the M2 when Smudge started to look worse. I noticed the tank was very cloudy for the first 2 days - not sure if that has anytihng to do with nitrites but on the M2 package it says that that is common. The lights are dimmed. I have given M2 previously with no bad reaction but he was never this sick. Would nitrite posioning change the color of the gills so fast?

So it is ok to wait for another 36 hours (24 hours post last M2 dose) and then do the change? After that he will only be on the MM.

Thanks again :heart

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I suppose if the gills are damaged to start it will show faster. Nitrite is carried in the blood depleting oxygen as it moves through so you might well notice a brown tinge as the blood passes around the whole of the fishes system within a day. I know that any medication can also damage gills of sensitive fish but usually this damage produces a paler or pink gill tissue associated with anemia.

Yes but watch him very closely. Im a little concerned about the prolonged bottom sitting. Is he still doing that?

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Thanks for the clarificationon pink vs. brown gills. I checked the nitrite again - still 0 but I agree that I could very well have missed the spike.

He is still bottom sitting but comes out to eat his MM. The pineconing is barely noticeable now.

I am going to try to wait it out, dose the last M2 tonight and do the massive change/clean out tomorrow PM. I am more than a bit nervous about the water change given what happened last time. It was totally unexpected and shocked me completely.

I'll keep you posted - thanks again :heart

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OK, I did the water change (taking the fish out) a few hours ago and Smudge does not look too happy. He is back in his tank but bottom sitting behind a plant with his fins clamped. He did not come out when I went to the tank or when I dropped in some MM food. It is not as bad as last time when he was flipped over on top of the tank (for 3 days) but still not good.

He actually was starting to look better before the water change. Although he still bottom sat ~80% of the time he came out more often and happily ate his MM food. He looked a little swollen but not pineconed anymore.

To do the change I put tank water (just scooped it in not vaccumed) into the tub and tranferred in both fish by hand. I had never done this before - Pudge who is healthier and bigger was quite wiggly and active when I picked him up but seemed ok once in the tub. Smudge was totally docile when I picked him up - it is clear that he is still pretty sick. He held still in the tub.

I did >80% change with thourough vacumming (the tank was quite dirty as it has been a week and I have been heavily feeding the MM) and added back water which was close to the same temp (by hand) and was the same pH (by test). I let the filter run almost an hour with the new water in to try to get any debris, etc which could hurt Smudge get filtered out or settle down. Then I transferred both fish back in. There is no more M2 or epsom in the tank and I added back the carbon.

What should I do now? I imagine I should just wait and see if he starts to get better after some of the stress wears off?

Thanks for all your support :heart

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I suppose its wait and see now. Time may be all thats needed for him to gain strength. How is he today?

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Trinket, Liz thanks for checking in and for your good wishes. Smudge is looking better this AM :D

He came up to eat his MM (he didn't yesterday - hopefully skipping a day is not too bad) and is swimming around a little more. Still a lot of bottom sitting and I saw the thin white poop again but given all he has been through I know he needs time to get better. I'll stick to the MM and wait and see.

Trinket - do you think it is better to do large weekly changes taking him out of the tank each time or to do smaller ones every other day or so leaving him in? I am wondering what is less stressful for them? This was the first time my fish have been out of their tank since I got them - isn't it stressful to move them back and forth?

Thanks again

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could it be this? if you don't age the tap water before adding, the dissolved nitrogen eventually bubbles out, causing the "bends." Maybe it could cause floating too.

Although I've never aged my tapwater and haven't had that problem.

Edited by goldone
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Update - Smudge's behavior seems to be improving slowly :) . He is bottom sitting less (50-60% time insead of constantly) and is eating his MM.

I still do not know if I should routinely take him out for water changes or if taking him out every week will be too stressful. The other option would be to do very small changes (20%?) more often but keep him in the main tank. Thoughts/suggestions?

Goldone, I guess nitrogen is possible - I really can't say what about the water changes bothers Smudge. I have varied so many things with no real difference. He has chronic gill issues and it is just consistent that he is worse after a water change. This time though was the first time he flipped and then when dropsy set in it was just awful. I am glad he is getting better :D

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